Today is my grandson Max’s one-week birthday. Already he has accomplished so much; he is learning how to take in nourishment and to digest, survive the (so far) extreme displeasure of being gently bathed, to experience the undifferentiated onslaught of smell, taste, hearing, sound and touch, with only the foggiest of visual input. At 8-12 inches away, babies can only see in black, white and grays to being with. They may come to recognize their caregiver’s faces from that distance as early as two weeks. By two months, their eyes muscles can hold a steady focus. By three to four months they can begin to discern colors on small objects. Max’s eyes are wide open from time to time, but it is hard for me to imagine what it is he is actually perceiving.
I remember the weight of holding my babies very well, but I cannot actually remember them ever being this tiny and light. The wisp of a fingernail, the slightest dimple of a finger knuckle, and the cupid bow of tiny lips are amazing to behold. It is no wonder I cannot remember this stage accurately. Babies change so much, so fast, and new mothers are as overwhelmed in their own way as their small charges the first month or so. I do remember well the piercing cry of infant distress- mothers are directly targeted by that particular wailing. I have on occasion heard that same cry from an adult therapy client during a session when they tapped into their previously unconscious early mother losses. That sound goes directly to the heart and demands immediate action on the baby’s behalf. Not all babes are as lucky as my grandchild in having a warm and safe nurturing environment for their entrance into this world.
I watch my daughter and son-in-law surrender to the full-on care, delight, and exhaustion of their son’s presence and I am glad to be the grandmother. I empathize and resonate with their adventure and am happy (need) to receive daily picture by picture updates (how did distant grandparents handle life before cyber communication?). I am also clear it is their life and am so glad to see their active network of other young parents and friends they have to support them. What a gift it is to love and participate in my new role.
While I write, I am listening to sacred music of medieval Spain. I discovered this site when I was still going through rehab and was so touched by the rhythmic joyful expressions of love of the Divine Maria. I was plugged into my earphones so as not to disturb my neighbors and felt that much more inspired to move through my post-operative pain and get moving. I highly recommend a listen if you’d like to hear a superb professional young choral performance with wonderful genuine medieval instrumental accompaniment. For all the darkness we associate with the Spanish Church of this period, here is a counterpoint of vibrant celebration. I love some of the pieces so much that I keep thinking I will directly swipe one of the melodies and rhythms to create a songful celebration of my own. “Imitation is the highest form of flattery…” Oscar Wilde
May we all find our own joyful inspirations in this turbulent period of our country and our world.